Mets punch out Rox in series opener

Mets punch out Rox in series opener

NEW YORK -- Three was the magic number on Friday for the Mets. Not the all-encompassing, clinching number, but just a magical number for one night.

There was Endy Chavez's third home run of the season, which tied the game at 3.

The Mets scored runs in three consecutive innings and scored three runs in the fifth inning.

Mets starter Steve Trachsel pitched three scoreless innings before and after allowing three runs in the fourth inning to pick up his 12th win of the season.

The middle three hitters of the Mets lineup -- Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, and David Wright -- were huge, batting 5-for-9 with four runs and two RBIs.

And, finally, the Mets proved to their faithful that the recent three-game losing streak in Philadelphia was a thing of the past as they doubled up threes in beating the Rockies, 6-3, in front of 35,325 at Shea Stadium.

Trachsel, except for the three-run fourth, was as efficient as he was brilliant. He said after the game that he was able to use all four of his pitches effectively and he is as strong as he has been the entire season, which is a good sign considering Pedro Martinez's absence for the next week and a half.

The 35-year-old right-hander went seven innings and threw 106 pitches, 63 for strikes. He allowed seven hits with three walks and six strikeouts, which tied a season high.

"A great job by Trachs," bubbled Mets skipper Willie Randolph after the game. "That's what we needed. Seven strong by him. He was very efficient, and he's been as consistent as anyone recently. We needed that effort out of him to save our bullpen."

After getting knocked around in Philly, the Mets desperately needed a quality outing from Trachsel (12-5) and the tall righty delivered. But it seems like it's become a given for him now, even though, across the baseball nation, it's not expected.

"I don't really care what other people have to say, all I care about is what my teammates say," said Trachsel, who has now won three of his last four starts.

Trachsel gave the Mets enough to work around as he kept the Rockies off the board for the first three innings, before Garrett Atkins blasted a two-run homer in the fourth to highlight a three-run inning.

The Mets posted a 1-0 lead in the third inning on consecutive hits off Rockies starter Byung-Hyun Kim with two outs by Beltran, Delgado and Wright. Beltran singled to right field followed by Delgado's liner to left-center field. Wright, who has been struggling in August with a .228 average before Friday's game, then hit a sharp double to left to score Beltran.

So much for a slump.

"I thought he got some better pitches to hit tonight," said Randolph, who talked before the game about Wright's need to be patient at the plate. "He did a lot better job of working the count and selecting pitches to hit."

Wright would add to his slump-breaking night in the fifth inning with a run-scoring single to give the Mets the go-ahead run and the eventual win. After Kim issued consecutive walks to Beltran and Delgado to begin the inning, Wright hit a liner to left to bring in Beltran. Michael Tucker followed with a run-scoring double. Chris Woodward hit a fly ball to center to score Wright for the 6-3 lead to chase Kim from the game.

"The thing about this team is that we have great teammates, and it's like we have 25 batting coaches who are able to help you at any given time," said Wright, who finished 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs. "Tonight, I was able to relax and see the pitches better and that's a result of my teammates and my skipper helping me through the process."

One of those "coaches" came through with a big hit of his own to help the Mets as well. Chavez had spent a good part of the year on the bench as a role player, i.e. coach, before Cliff Floyd's injury slotted him as a starter. Now, he's flourishing as an everyday player.

The outfielder, who started in right on Friday went 2-for-4, including his two-run blast in the fourth inning. The Rockies had taken a lead in the top half with three runs off Trachsel, including Atkins' homer. But Chavez got the best of Kim, delivering a 1-0 fastball from the sidearm slinger into the Mets' bullpen in right field. The homer tied the game and gave the Mets as much of a boost as Wright's RBI single in the previous inning.

"I'm running out of good things to say about Endy," said Wright. "It seems like all year he's doing things to contribute to the team. I mean, everything, from defense, to [outfield] assists, to stealing bases to his offensive production. And he can play all three outfield positions with ease."

Seems appropriate, doesn't it? That Chavez can handle all three spots in the outfield.

Three. It surely is a magical number.

Chris Girandola is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.